5th Animal Kingdom Art Exhibition Monthly Winning Artists – May 2020

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 5th Annual Animal Kingdom international online art exhibition.  Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails. To contact these artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work, please visit the 5th Annual Animal Kingdom Exhibition page for contact information. Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Anne Pentland - "Sunset for a Species" – Oil on canvas

Anne Pentland received her bachelor’s degree in studio art from UC Davis in 1987, studying under such noted artists as Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri and Wayne Thiebaud. She taught art at Calistoga Elementary School for 16 years and is currently Assistant Director and Resident Artist at Nimbus Arts in St Helena, where she creates classes for children and adults in the community. Though primarily an oil painter, she also sculpts with clay, and makes mosaics, both 2D and 3D. Her work has graced restaurants, wineries, and a book cover published in 2018.

In her recent works, she has included a figure representing the Madonna with threatened and endangered wildlife. The Madonna is a symbol of protection and intercession, mediating between heaven and earth. In this way Anne may express her deep concern for the preservation of animal species.

Anne is alarmed by the degradation of the natural world, which increases in relation to human population growth. These catastrophic events we now experience (hurricanes in the south, fires in the west) were all predicted decades ago, corresponding to human activities. Having escaped the largest wildfire of 2017 (The Tubbs Fire), she continues to include burned wood from her property as subject matter.

Currently Anne is painting Australian wildlife in fire-ravaged landscapes, reflecting the devastating 2019 fires on that continent. Those who cherish the natural world cannot help feeling concern for wildlife and wild places.

Anne paints these images to illuminate her passion for the creatures that share our world. She hopes this work serves to remind us that we are responsible for protecting wildlife populations- and for losing them.

To see more of Anne’s work, please visit her website.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Anne Pentland - "Sunset for a Species" – Oil on canvas

Anne Pentland received her bachelor’s degree in studio art from UC Davis in 1987, studying under such noted artists as Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri and Wayne Thiebaud. She taught art at Calistoga Elementary School for 16 years and is currently Assistant Director and Resident Artist at Nimbus Arts in St Helena, where she creates classes for children and adults in the community. Though primarily an oil painter, she also sculpts with clay, and makes mosaics, both 2D and 3D. Her work has graced restaurants, wineries, and a book cover published in 2018.

In her recent works, she has included a figure representing the Madonna with threatened and endangered wildlife. The Madonna is a symbol of protection and intercession, mediating between heaven and earth. In this way Anne may express her deep concern for the preservation of animal species.

Anne is alarmed by the degradation of the natural world, which increases in relation to human population growth. These catastrophic events we now experience (hurricanes in the south, fires in the west) were all predicted decades ago, corresponding to human activities. Having escaped the largest wildfire of 2017 (The Tubbs Fire), she continues to include burned wood from her property as subject matter.

Currently Anne is painting Australian wildlife in fire-ravaged landscapes, reflecting the devastating 2019 fires on that continent. Those who cherish the natural world cannot help feeling concern for wildlife and wild places.

Anne paints these images to illuminate her passion for the creatures that share our world. She hopes this work serves to remind us that we are responsible for protecting wildlife populations- and for losing them.

To see more of Anne’s work, please visit her website.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Anne Pentland - "Sunset for a Species" – Oil on canvas

Anne Pentland received her bachelor’s degree in studio art from UC Davis in 1987, studying under such noted artists as Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri and Wayne Thiebaud. She taught art at Calistoga Elementary School for 16 years and is currently Assistant Director and Resident Artist at Nimbus Arts in St Helena, where she creates classes for children and adults in the community. Though primarily an oil painter, she also sculpts with clay, and makes mosaics, both 2D and 3D. Her work has graced restaurants, wineries, and a book cover published in 2018.

In her recent works, she has included a figure representing the Madonna with threatened and endangered wildlife. The Madonna is a symbol of protection and intercession, mediating between heaven and earth. In this way Anne may express her deep concern for the preservation of animal species.

Anne is alarmed by the degradation of the natural world, which increases in relation to human population growth. These catastrophic events we now experience (hurricanes in the south, fires in the west) were all predicted decades ago, corresponding to human activities. Having escaped the largest wildfire of 2017 (The Tubbs Fire), she continues to include burned wood from her property as subject matter.

Currently Anne is painting Australian wildlife in fire-ravaged landscapes, reflecting the devastating 2019 fires on that continent. Those who cherish the natural world cannot help feeling concern for wildlife and wild places.

Anne paints these images to illuminate her passion for the creatures that share our world. She hopes this work serves to remind us that we are responsible for protecting wildlife populations- and for losing them.

To see more of Anne’s work, please visit her website.

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) - Mal Keeble - "Eye on the Prize" - Digital Photography

Mal is an emerging professional photographer based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. He is a communications and public relations professional and has a passion for storytelling – whether that is through words or images.

Mal applies this storytelling approach through his photography. He specialises in landscape, adventure, event and action photography, and donates his time generously through volunteering his photography skills to pet rescue and community organisations.

Mal is a traveller, adventurer and hiker, a combination that fits perfectly with his pursuit of capturing landscape, wildlife and action images. When asked about his approach to photography, Mal replied: “I take a minimal approach to my work and don’t get caught up in chasing the popular social media images or get stuck in the mumbo jumbo of photography jargon. I let my camera do the heavy lifting – I’m just transporting it to the right location.”

Mal’s images have been featured by ABC Australia and in local newspapers.

To see more of Mal’s work, please email him directly.

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) - Douglas Aja - "Fury" – Bronze

Douglas Aja has been sculpting African wildlife since the late 1990s. Since that time he donates a portion of the sales proceeds to various conservation organizations as well as donates sculptures for fund raising events.

Though he sculpts a variety of species, he specializes in the African elephant. Many elephants are known individuals from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. He has been a longtime supporter of Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE), ElephantVoices and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). Recently he has begun supporting Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK) and Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF).

Aja's bronze sculptures are in the private collections of elephant researchers Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole, wildlife cinematographer Martyn Colbeck, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Bennington Center for the Arts and NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones.

Traveling to Africa for the first time in 1978, Doug took part in a wilderness education program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). There he studied wilderness and mountaineering skills, outdoor leadership, minimum impact camping and Kenya's culture.

He continues to visit East Africa regularly to take photos, gather reference material and to further his knowledge and understanding of his subjects. He often backpacks on Mount Kenya, through Maasailand and has climbed Kilimanjaro.

To see more of Doug’s work, please visit his website.

2nd Place (Traditional) – Lisa Hewett - "African Heat" – Acrylic

As a child of faith, the Lord’s creation always captivated Lisa Hewett, speaking to the wild within her. Thus, Lisa naturally expressed this love through her art, always seeking to capture the same God-inspired awe in her artwork that she experienced on her outdoor adventures.

These experiences are the foundation of Lisa’s artwork: coupling her deep love of adventure and her wilderness skills with her own photography to capture views that speak to the majesty of God’s creation, with an emphasis on light, contrast, and her own artistic style. After taking dozens of photographs in the wild, Lisa uses them as references to create acrylic paintings that many describe as “rare, honest, and epic”.

Raised in the heart of the midwest in the United States, Lisa has never met a stranger in her life. This served her well during many years of teaching Visual Arts to youth and adults, after attending the University of Tulsa on a National Scholastics Art Scholarship for a BA in Fine Art and Education.  Lisa built her classroom upon educated feedback, excellence and fun; this created a classroom of state and national award-winning achievements from Lisa’s students, including Lisa winning Teacher of the Year. Furthermore, it led her to earn her MSED (Summa Cum Laude) in English Language Learners from Walden University, and travel to Spain to study hyperrealism under Dirk Dzimirsky.

No longer in education, Lisa is a professional artist in Colorado. Lisa has exhibited her work in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in Colorado Springs, CO. When she is not adventuring outdoors in pursuit of her next painting, or "doing life" with the youth she mentors, Lisa is making memories with loved ones. Otherwise, she is in her studio breathing life into people, animals, and her beloved mountains with her pencils and paints.

To view or purchase her work, please visit her website at www.lisahewettfineart.com.

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) - Barbara Mierau-Klein - "Rhino" - Digital photo collage

Barbara Mierau-Klein is a digital artist recognized for her multi-layered, imaginative and colorful fine art images. A native of Germany, Barbara lives in the Washington, D.C. area but often travels the world as a passionate landscape and nature photographer since her teenage years.

Barbara discovered digital art several years ago and became so fascinated that it turned into a full-time pursuit. Much of Barbara’s work is highly stylized and focuses on beautiful moments and evocative moods across a wide range of subjects. The inspiration for her images comes from many sources, often her own nature photography, but also books, song lyrics, movies, and works of other artists, old masters as well as contemporary digital artists.

Barbara’s work has been exhibited in several galleries in the US and Europe and was awarded numerous awards. Her images also appear regularly in international art magazines. Barbara is represented locally by Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD.

To see more of Barbara’s work, please visit her website.

2nd Place (3 Dimensional) - Kate Hanley - "Golden Deco" – Mixed media sculptural mosaic

Kate Hanley was born and raised in Detroit and is back living in this creative mecca of music and art. After years experimenting with clay, wood and other 3D art she found her way to mixed media sculptural mosaics and realized she could join her creative inspiration with the beauty, grace and power of animals in the wild. Kate’s appreciation of the untamed world is captured through the raw beauty of unaltered animal skulls as the scaffold for her art.

There is a lack of symmetry in any skull and her work incorporates that variability, resulting in shifting designs from one side of the skull to the other. The natural curves and contours are what inspire her and integrating nontraditional elements into the design allows for the creation of a unique voice for the animal that is at the heart of the piece. Elements can range from stained glass, ceramics and smalti to beads, buttons, shells, vintage jewelry and other decorative objects. The skull of the animal creates the landscape for the story that is told and the process of placing one bead at a time becomes a type of moving meditation that allows for an immersion in the flow of color and shape.

Kate has heightened her understanding of mosaics through research, attending classes and workshops around the country, and meeting talented mosaic artists who so willingly shared their knowledge and techniques.

She is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists, Mosaic Artists of Michigan, and the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand.

To see more of Kate’s work, please visit her website.

3rd Place (Traditional) – Nancy McCarthy - "Aurora Borealis" – Chalk pastel on paper

A native of southwest Ohio, Nancy McCarthy grew up with seven brothers and sisters in the quiet neighborhood of Oakwood, outside of Dayton, Ohio. As soon as she could hold a crayon, Nancy's love of art became evident. She began her studies in earnest at the tender age of 13. During five years of study, she excelled in many mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor and chalk pastels. While most artists perfect a single medium, Nancy's philosophy differs. "The medium adds so much to the character of each piece that I feel it would be a shame to limit my expression by settling into just one."

In 1975, Nancy started her career in commercial art. She moved to Cincinnati in 1977 where she advanced in her field of pharmaceutical advertising by working with a few of Cincinnati's finest art firms. In 1984 she was able to leave her job at Seta Appleman and Showell to concentrate entirely on fine art.

Beginning as a portrait artist, she was quickly drawn away to follow her passion, painting the beauty and variety of God's natural world. Painting and photographing wildlife, vistas, and domestic animals have become the focus of Nancy's artistry. The depth and clarity of her work have brought her regional and national acclaim. With a contemporary flair, she creates with a unique style that sets her work apart. "I'd like for the viewer to feel as though they have just experienced a beautiful, microcosmic moment in life. A majestic storm, an explosion of blossoms, an animal's gesture and expression, they all tell a story which evokes emotion on the viewer's part."

Perhaps you have seen Nancy's work exhibited in one of her many private and public shows. She has exhibited at wildlife shows, equine events, and galleries from California to Massachusetts. Nancy exhibited as a member of the Ohio Society of Nature Artists and now maintains a small studio in Bethel, Ohio.

You can reach her by e-mail nancy@nancy-mccarthy.com and buy or view her paintings on her web site www.nancy-mccarthy.com .

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) - Debby Thomas - "Tiger, Tiger" – Digital photography

I’ve always felt a special affinity with animals. As a young child I found myself drawing horses. When I was gifted with a camera, it opened a new artistic avenue to capture the special beauty, personality and the spirit of each animal. I now work in pencil, oil, acrylic and photography.

As a horse trainer, I studied the behavior of horses. My greatest joy is to portray the individual animal’s personality, either with horses, pets or wildlife. While creating a portrait I sometimes remove, soften or add a background to keep the focus on the most important elements. Other times, often with wildlife, I want to show the animal’s relationship with his/her environment. Realism, as well as the creative abilities of the photography process lets me infuse the images with the emotion I feel when in the presence of a horse.

Debby Thomas currently lives in Manakin Sabot, Va. And travels to locations around the world to photograph her subjects.

To see more of Debby’s work, please visit her website.

3rd Place (3 Dimensional) - Roberto De Leon - "Gallons" – Clay, wood, and mix media

My work focuses on bringing awareness to endangered species, animal cruelty, and the living conditions wild animals live due to our toxic environment. Many of us don’t acknowledge the fact that animals have feelings just as a human being. I try to show the beauty and the harsh reality that many of the animals go through. The content of my work usually has a dark humor at first glance, but it stills goes back to what the message is portrayed.

During my time in grad school, I began to research on the amount of greenhouse gases being produced by the livestock industry and how global warming has become a more realistic threat to mankind. Through that type of extensive research, lately my focus has been on climate change, the inhumane practices on factory farms, the relationship between food, culture, and the destructive effects to our bodies.

Many of the textures and colors I choose for the piece brings a different meaning to what the message is being portrayed. Our animals have been on earth since the very beginning and so we must treat them with royalty and respect rather than the complete opposite.

Roberto Clemente De Leon was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, but raised in Miami, Florida by the age of nine. Roberto is currently working on his M.F.A. in Studio Art at the University of South Carolina. He is currently still active with his work by keeping up with current events.

To see more of Roberto’s work, please visit his website.

4th Place (Traditional) – Susan Mills - "Raven Eye" – Acrylic

Susan Mills is a self-taught artist from Co. Kerry in Ireland. She has always felt a deep connection with animals, with their vulnerability, she says. In her work, she strives to capture the beauty and serenity of animals but above all their innate character, that part which makes them unique and is only ever fully revealed to those who truly love them. She is also fascinated by the emotional bond between humans and animals. Susan has a PhD in Microbiology and states that her technique is very much guided by her scientific foundation, she draws like a scientist and paints like an artist.

To see more of Susan’s work, please email her directly.

4th Place (Photography & Digital) - Edyta Trojańska-Koch - "Black Princess" – Photography

Polish equine photographer with 25 years of experience. I was born in Cracow, Poland. I studied French and journalism. I travel around the Word in search of the most exquisite equine models and landscapes. I collaborate with many publishing houses in Poland and abroad. My photographs regularly appear on covers of magazines, in calendars, advertisements and articles worldwide. I am the author of three coffee books about horses. I won second place in Equine Ideal Spring 2010 Photo Contest, in Professional Division "Extreme Action". I won several contests organized by ViewBug: Animals and Water, Mist and Drizzly, The Golden Moment, Visual Poetry and others. I was also twice a finalist of one of largest international photo contests "Our world is beautiful 2017 and 2019" organized by CEWE. In 2019 year my photo won 5th place in 4th Annual Animal Kingdom Art Exhibition.

To see more of Edyta’s work, please visit her website.

4th Place (3 Dimensional) - Jamison R. Glisczinski - "Lenore" – Clay and steel

Jamison R. Glisczinski is a second-career artist, resigning in 2017 from a 17-year corporate career in the automobile industry. Art is his passion and he always longed to live his dream of being a full-time artist. Jamison's art speaks to the honesty of the raw materials of clay and metal, allowing them to show through in the work. The materials are the scaffold for his imagination, which becomes reality with earth and metal. Jamison's sculptures are interpretations of animal figures, inspired by mythology, legends and stories. His vision is to take his subject, reduce it to its essence, then rebuild it in different materials so its essence is not lost but intensified.

To see more of Jamison’s work, please visit his website.

5th Place (Traditional) – Laurie Snow Hein - "The Mane Thing, Mustangs" – Oil on canvas

"I love teaching, painting, and making a living with art. I am so thankful. We live in an era when as artists, when we can connect with people worldwide. We just need to keep creating, inspiring others and ourselves while learning all along the way."

Although her Father told her she could never make a living as an artist, Laurie Snow Hein successfully raised six children on the income from her skill as an artist. From her childhood she had always taken time to paint, but at age 40, when she found herself in the position of supporting her family by herself, all she had was her skill as artist. Working 30 years as a professional artist, teaching, licensing, creating illustrations for books, and doing art festivals around the country, Laurie now shows primarily in Florida concentrating her time on images of the state of Florida. With majestic skies, enchanting landscapes, magnificent beaches and elegant wildlife, her inspiration is all around where she lives in Palm Beach County.

Look through her website www.lauriesnowhein and you will find a facility, talent, style and diversity of subject matter that is rare. She also displays and sells her work on Fine Art America and FASO. Laurie, a master oil painter and art instructor, has been teaching art for over 50 years. Laurie generously shares her knowledge and art experience with her art students and is always looking for new ways to help them enjoy the world of painting. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube are just some of the ways she reaches out to other art lovers sharing her passion for painting.

Chandler Gallery and M&M Gallery in Jupiter Florida show her work. Originals are exhibited in partnership with Sabourin Gallery in Juno Beach Florida and her home studio gallery in Palm Beach Gardens, is a perfect way to get to know her and her art close up and personal.

Contact her at artistlsh@gmail.com or through her website.

5th Place (Photography & Digital) - Shelley Benjamin - "Bird in Flight" – Digital photography

Shelley Benjamin, a resident of southeast Florida, is an award winning digital artist. She has been published in “Living the Photo Artistic Life”, Somerset Digital Studio and “Awake Photography magazines. Her work has received Best in Show, and top 10 in the “Fusion Art” online gallery and top 10, Honorable, Mention and Special Merit in the Light Space and Time Gallery. She has exhibited in group shows at the Louvre, the Cornell Museum, and Grounds for Sculpture.

Shelley received a BS in Textile Design from Cornell University. After a career as a textile designer and weaver, she became interested in mixed media, and ultimately, photography. Shelley’s experimentation and involvement with digital photography began after she purchased her first DSLR camera. During the learning process, she joined an international group of digital artists. With the advanced training she was able to develop her skills, which has allowed her to transform her images to reflect her vision. The inspiration from the group opened up the possibilities of taking photos into a new realm.

Shelley is motivated by the art she sees in museums and galleries. From the time she was young she has always been an avid museum visitor. Her background in weaving exposed her to the art of fine crafts and the masters in those fields. Shelley uses her photos as the foundation for a digital painterly approach, utilizing modern technology to enhance and transform the original image.

Drawing upon her textile design background, she imparts a tactile feeling to her work. She is challenged and inspired by color, reflections, light, the changing seasons, nature and architectural elements. Shelley is always searching for the extraordinary visual imagery in very ordinary environments. Ms. Benjamin states that her goal is to share the beauty around her and impart the uplifting feelings to the viewer that are the source of her inspiration.

Shelley’s web and social media sites: https://www.flickr.com/photos/benshell/https://www.instagram.com/sbenja823/ and https://www.artmajeur.com/en/sbenja823/artworks

5th Place (3 Dimensional) - Pamela McKinnie - "Rearing Spirit Horse" – Sculpture

I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. As an only child, I would save my 50¢ a week allowance until I could buy a paint-by-number kit or some other art project to feed my creative spirit. I moved from hand-drawn paper dolls and collages of garden flowers to oil painting, watercolor, traditional Chinese ink drawing, acrylics, collaging, digital painting, sculpting, and all forms of mixed media.

My degree at Central Missouri State University and adjunct professional training led to a lifetime of creating art and a 35-year career as a graphic designer. Since focusing on my fine art a couple of years ago, I have been juried into numerous shows, won several awards, and had my work displayed at more than a dozen solo shows, public art displays, galleries, museums, and art shows. I have always been an intuitive artist. I love to combine various art modalities, which sometimes leads to happy surprises and new ways of seeing life.

My passion is to approach my art as a small child. When creating paintings on canvas, I lay a canvas on the floor and randomly begin to brush, dab, drip, spray and scrape paints, inks and other materials with no particular form in mind. After a few days of exploring the initial abstract, I discover the seed of an image that I liberate from the background. Multiple layers enhance the emerging image, which takes on a life of its own.

When creating digital paintings, I layer my photography with numerous layers of digital painting, resulting in a creation that is unexpected and “new.” Sculptures are also intuitive and multilayered. In all forms of my work, often something other than the visible appears, which to me is a testimony to the underlying connectedness of life.

In the spirit of Rassouli’s Fusionart, my art is often a fusing of various cultures, a communication with nature, a blending of opposites. It is a reflection of what is felt rather than what is seen. What appears in the finished work is my spiritual and emotional energy fusing with whatever is longing to be expressed. I hope to create something that is alive with energy — something that invites viewers to connect with life in new and meaningful ways.

To see more of Pamela’s work, please visit her website.

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